Directed by Jonathan Berry
At Chicago Dramatists, Chicago
Unique reaction to personal failure becomes riveting drama
Chicago Dramatists, ever the factory for talented playwrights, has mounted another gem – from resident playwright Andrew Hinderaker ( Suicide, Incorporated & Kingsville) -I am Going to Change the World, now in its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists Theatre.
“Change the World” follows John Chapman (empathetic work by Nicholas Harazin), who as a child, in writing, wrote his life goals on a paper as a constant reminder and motivator. Among the items John strives for: being first in both his high school and college class, working, then owning Goldman Sachs and becoming a billionaire by age 35. With this ‘wiz’-kid’ all these are possible as John has a razor focus about his goals. But something happens during his initial interview with Goldman Sachs, actually before the interview when his alarm fails to go off and his life plans change dramatically. He awakes to a life he never imagined.
It seems that, once he arrives at Goldman Sachs, it is 2009 NOT 1995 and John has ‘lost’ fourteen years from his life. I’ll say no more except to state that this psychological thriller is plausible, heartfelt and cautionary since it covers the obsession with goal striving versus living in the now. Do geniuses pressure themselves to reach lofty goals so much that they never accept the possibility of failure? And, can a small failure along their journey be so climactic and stressful that a mental disorder can lead to a life-altering psychological condition? Andrew Hinderaker deftly offers a most compelling story of the consequences of traumatic event that alters the life of John and his family.
Hinderaker avoids the trap that many playwrights get into when they spin a psychological drama–that is –how to resolve the dilemma presented in a worthwhile plausible manner. Just when we think John is hopelessly trapped in his mental state, the human touch by an unexpected person offers John a way out of his condition.
Andrew Hinderaker is a storyteller of immense talent with a profound understanding of the human psyche. Add the tight direction by Jonathan Berry and the terrific work by Nicholas Harazin, Judy Blue (as Dr. Jensen), and Ed Flynn as Troy and “Change the World” unfolds as an enthralling psychological thriller with a unique perspective on our fixation with personal goal setting and self-imposed striving for success can overwhelm us if things don’t go as planned. Memories of touching personal moments can make life worthy – those are the triggers we need to remember, Hinderaker reminds us. Don’t miss this gem!
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
For more info checkout the I am Going to Change the World page at theatreinchicago.com
At Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, www.chicagodramatists.org, tickets $32, student tixs at Thursdays at $15, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through July 1, 2012